Greater Andover Days will feature two nights of live music again this year. A nice complement to the hard-rocking, hair-band music of The Banned on Friday will be The Source on Saturday.
From its beginning in 1996, The Source has provided a variety of music for everyone to enjoy. They specialize in dance music ranging from Top 40 to jazz, Motown, disco, classic rock and big band swing. Besides the typical drums, guitars and vocalists, the eight-piece band offers a horn section.
"When I first put the group together, the one thing I wanted to do for sure was to have horn players -- saxophone and trumpet," said founder Rod Martens. "It just kind of really leant itself to the style of music we want to do … a big band, jazz-type sound, or a more contemporary sound."
Martens pulled together a group of musicians he knew from the Wichita area. Shortly afterward, The Source started playing on the patio at YaYa's, a new restaurant in the Bradley Fair Shopping Center.
"That just kind of got the ball rolling, and we've been playing quite a bit over the years." Martens said. "We've been real fortunate to always have plenty of work."
Martens, who plays guitar, and drummer T.J. White are original band members. Other members are vocalists Michael Webber and Amanda Hawkinson, Jordan Ortman on keyboard, bassist Zach Lorenson, Galen Fast on saxophone and Bill Rohde on trumpet.
"The nice thing about the band is that it has provided an opportunity to play with some of the best musicians in Wichita," Martens said of the more than 100 people who have played at least once with them over the years.
Although The Source may be somewhat unfamiliar to folks attending Greater Andover Days, many in the area should know Lorenson. The Andover Middle School band teacher joined the group in May when they were looking for a bass player.
"Rod happens to know Kevin Findley, who I teach with, and Kevin knew I was a bass player and he recommended me," Lorenson said. "Rod called, I auditioned for the band, and have been playing with them ever since."
Lorenson played clarinet with his grade school band and in church prior to that. He still plays the clarinet but has picked up other instruments over time. While majoring in music education at Friends University, he started playing the bass.
After college, Lorenson taught for a year at Natoma in western Kansas before taking a position in Andover. A graduate of Valley Center High School, this is his seventh year at Andover Middle School, which brings him closer to family.
Lorenson has played with several other groups but never with the same one for this long. With a lot of jazz music in his background, Lorenson enjoys playing with The Source.
Page 2 of 3 - "It's a very fun group," he said. "We play a lot of danceable music."
In addition to playing at YaYa's, about 18 months ago they started playing at the Candle Club at 13th and Woodlawn. Martens said it is one of the oldest member clubs in Wichita, dating back to the 1950s, which is a great venue for their music.
"Our music goes back a number of generations, so to play it in a club that has been around for a number of generations is really fun," he said. "Both of those establishments treat us very well, and we have good working relationships with both of them."
The group usually plays between 50 and 70 dates a year, which suits Lorenson.
"This band plays a lot, so it's fun to play with a group that plays that often," he said. "We get to be really good at playing together because we do it so often."
When asked how they got their name, Martens said it wasn't anything special. Each of the members knew they wanted to play music that would provide a "source" of entertainment for all ages, no matter the venue.
"The music is going to range from Motown -- might throw in a little bit of disco -- all the way up to some current Top 40 music. You can expect music you can dance to and enjoy," Martens said. "Chicago and some of those great horn bands from yesteryear. Maybe a bit of Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin, and as current as Black Eyed Peas."
So how did The Source get from east Wichita to Andover? Because of a satisfied listener.
"Someone from City Hall (Les Manges, he thinks) heard us at one of the venues we played and called," Martens said. "He said our music would be well suited for the wide variety of ages that Greater Andover Days attract. We said 'We would love to do it.'"
Lorenson is looking forward to playing at GAD. For one thing, it will be good for his students to see him play.
"It will show them that I don't just teach music, I actually enjoy playing it in my spare time," he said. "To get them to think about the idea that music is something you could do your whole life. I would like to see them playing beyond high school."
There will be at least two much younger partygoers who will enjoy the concert as well. Lorenson's wife, Lacy, will undoubtedly be there with their daughters – Ayla, 5, and Willa, 3.
"They do like to jam," he said, with a chuckle, of his daughters. "They've come out and seen us play at YaYa's. They love that Adele song, 'Rolling in the Deep,' and were just singing their hearts out with that."
Page 3 of 3 - So if you happen to see Ayla and Willa jamming at the concert, don't sit there and let the kids have all the fun. Get out there and jam with them. After all, their dad's band is The "Source" of musical entertainment for all ages.